The UK shows the EU the way on citizens’ rights.

Graham Charles Lear
5 min readJan 18, 2020


On Thursday the UK Home Office released the latest figures on “The EU Settlement Scheme”, which makes it easy for EU citizens and their families to obtain a UK immigration status for when the UK leaves the EU.

UK acceptance rate is running at 99.3% of all applications processed

Already, over 2.4m applications have been processed and approved

This is three times the total number of UK citizens in EU27 countries

Official EU statistics show 3.9 million EU27 citizens living in the UK

The same statistics show fewer than 850,000 UK citizens living in EU27 countries.

The UK has a clear, free process — EU27 countries are all over the place

The British people have been on the end of a relentless barrage about “citizens’ rights” since the EU first — and arbitrarily — introduced this as one of their three priorities in the Brexit Withdrawal process. Indeed the EU refused to discuss other issues for more than a year until this was settled, despite the British Government offering to settle this issue back in late 2016.

I have previously published details of the EU’s official statistics on the numbers of EU citizens living in other EU countries, showing how “free movement” has benefited EU27 citizens four times as much as it has benefited UK citizens.

Conclusive evidence of the basic facts on the treatment of citizens after Brexit

The British system for processing settlement claims from EU27 nationals is working very efficiently, according to the latest figures from the Home Office released on Thursday. 99.3% of all applications which have been concluded have been approved, which represents 2.43m people so far. A further 306,000 applications are in the system, and this equates to the total number for November and December. Only six applications were refused, from those convicted and/or serving time for serious criminal offences.

Source: Official Home Office data released 16 Jan 2020)

Remember the furore from UK Remainer and EU politicians on costs for applications?

Readers will recall the constant coverage in the media regarding the potential costs of EU27 citizens applying for settled status in the UK. Here is Guy Verhofstadt’s Brexit Steering Group Committee on this question:-

“We continue to believe this process should be cost-free, in keeping with the European Parliament’s longstanding position on this matter.”

- Statement by the Brexit Steering Group of EU Parliament on UK paper on EU citizens in the UK, 2018

Well, how is that working out?

EU27 countries continue to demand huge sums from UK citizens

EU27 citizens can apply for settled status in the UK — COMPLETELY FREE.

Cost for UK citizens to apply for the same status in France €119 ((over £100)

Cost for UK citizens to apply for the same status in Austria €210 ((over £170)

Most EU27 countries have yet to decide a figure

EU27 citizens in the UK do have certainty, but many UK citizens in EU27 countries don’t

Many EU27 countries do not yet have complete and published information for UK citizens living in their countries. In some cases where they do, UK citizens cannot even apply until the UK has formally left the EU on 31 January.

Meanwhile, in the UK, EU27 citizens can apply for immigration status online at no cost, and 2.75 million have already done so. The rules are clear and extremely generous.

To summarise, those who have lived in the UK for over five years get settled status. Those who have lived in the UK for less than five years get pre-settled status which they can convert to settled status when they reach five years.

EU27 citizens with settled or pre-settled status get the following rights

The right to work in the UK

The right to use the NHS for free as they do now

The right to enrol in education or continue studying

The right to access public funds such as benefits and pensions

The right to travel in and out of the UK (for up to 5 years if they have settled status)

Here is a little known fact.

Free movement has benefited citizens from other EU countries,
but citizens of the United Kingdom have used it very little

The facts below come from ‘Mobility in Europe’ (Freedom of Movement), a July 2019 report by the EU Commission’s statistics agency

3.9 million EU27 nationals now live in the UK

Less than 850,000 Brits (1%) live in the EU27

4½ times as many EU27 citizens living in the UK, compared to UK citizens in the EU27

The number of EU27 nationals in the UK has continued to rise since the EU Referendum (ONS)

The UK’s proportion of EU nationals is 70% higher than the EU average

Poles top the table at over 1 million

Romanians are second with 416,000, despite only having a free movement to the UK from 2007

Where do British people live in the EU27?

Spain is by far the most popular home for Brits in the EU 285,000 live there [EU figures]

France comes second with 145,000 UK nationals, and Ireland is third with 103,000 UK nationals

The other 310,000 are spread across the remaining 24 EU countries, averaging under 13,000 per member state

As ever, it seems that the UK has sat back and taken criticism from EU ideologues such as Verhoftstadt — with Remainer commentators, the BBC, and Sky happily reporting on this.

The reality is rather different, as we have demonstrated above using official figures from the EU and from the British Government.

It really is about time the UK Government started to rebut the EU’s nonsense robustly, and once again I call on the Government to improve its outward communications on Brexit dramatically. If these departments are staffed by Remainer civil servants (is there another kind?), then these people must be replaced. None of us will be around forever to do their job for them.

[ Sources: EU Commission official statistics | UK Home Office latest figures on Settlement Scheme | EU Parliament ]



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.